The upland hardwood component of Prince Edward ...

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Title The upland hardwood component of Prince Edward Island's remnant Acadian forest: determination of depth of edge and patterns of exotic plant invasion
Author(s) Kate MacQuarrie, Christian R. Lacroix
Date 2003
Volume 81
Issue 11
Start page 1113
Abstract The upland hardwood component of Prince Edward Island's Acadian forest is among the best remaining examples of the precolonial landscape, but it has been severely fragmented during the past 300 years of human use and settlement. Despite the ecological importance of this remnant habitat and its level of fragmentation, there has been no assessment of depth of edge or exotic plant invasion in these areas. Three 300 m long edge-interior transects were established in each of six study sites. Nine 100-m^sup 2^ circular plots were sampled along each transect at distances from 5.7 to 300 m; one external plot was established at each transect to sample species in adjacent habitats. In each plot, all vascular plants were identified, a visual estimate of percent cover was made, and soil temperature, canopy cover, and tree diameters were measured. An edge-interior plant community gradient was found within these forests; a plant community characteristic of interior conditions was not reached until a distance of more than 120 m from an edge. This suggests that upland hardwood protected areas smaller than 240 m on a side (5.75 ha) are unlikely to include interior habitat, and sites should be greater than 320 m on all sides (10.24 ha) to ensure at least some interior habitat for vascular plants. Invasion by exotic species was found to be more extensive than that reported from other jurisdictions, and innermost (300 m) plots were not free from exotics. Fifteen exotic species were found within the study sites, with Veronica officinalis (common speedwell) and Hieracium lachenalii (hawkweed) being the most invasive, both in terms of distance penetrated and area covered. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT] Key words: Acadian forest, fragmentation, depth of edge, protected area, Veronica, Hieracium.

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